I thought that by going to America and naturalizing I don’t have to deal with the injustice or care about what is happening in the Middle East anymore… do you blame me? I just want to live the American dream and blog about reality TV…. But here I am drawn once again to the chaos. So let’s talk about my previous life one more time before closing the doors again.
Years ago, sometime in 2001, Amnesty International, in an effort to reward young human rights activists who risk their life reporting about the injustice happening in their country (which is Lebanon in my case) decided to send me to “monitor the trial” of Saad Eddine Ibrahim in Cairo, Egypt. I was thrilled! I was going to save the world. I had no idea that they choose me because it was much easier to send a young Lebanese lawyer with an Arab passport, than to send a westerner, a Caucasian flashing a democratic passport….
I received few instructions about my duties from Amnesty International’s researchers, who at the time were Sudanese, and they explain to me about what shall I wear and where should I go, but what I was not expecting was a lesson on “how to mitigate” the Egyptian secret service’s impact on my trip and during my stay (kind of soft James bond 007 “a l’Egyptienne” sort of tips) one of the advices was: “don’t even try to close your suitcase when you leave it in the hotel, because when they will go into your room to search it, they will break the lock anyway…” I was wondering if it works also for the lock on my room door that was opened anyway all the time because the hotel was old and falling apart, Amnesty has made it clear that their budget for a human right trip should not exceed a $20 a night, as if we were not suffering enough.
To make the story short, I went to Egypt and was followed non-stop from the airport to the hotel and then to the court where the trial was held, by one agent (who I thought at the time was just a random admirer of Lebanese women) who occasionally would take my picture (I also thought it was because of my too-short-for-Middle-Eastern-custom cute summer dress that I was wearing)
To make the story shorter, I met with Saad Eddine Ibrahim, one of Egypt’s most prominent human rights activist, who gained world attention when he was arrested in 2000 by the secret service of Hosni Mubarak’s regime on the charges of using European Union funds for monitoring elections and defaming Egypt’s image.
It was hard seeing this intellectual professor of sociology at the American University in Cairo being held behind bars, not even bars it was more of a cage as you can see in the picture….
Guess who is today in this same situation? PharaohMubarak! Of course with more serious charges like killing peaceful protestors.
I wonder how Saad Eddine feels right now looking at Mubarak behind bars?